Tourist destination announces surprise ban on UK travel over new Covid variant

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Autumn holiday plans are being thrown into chaos after popular tourist destinations began blocking flights to the UK over fears that a new Covid variant is getting out of control.

Last night, the Director General of Moroccan airline Air Arabia-Maroc revealed that

to the United Kingdom, Germany and Netherlands from Wednesday onwards.

The move comes as fears grow worldwide over a new mutation of the Delta variant of Covid-19 said to be circulating throughout Britain and other parts of western Europe.

This is called the AY.4.2, or 'Delta plus'.

Government data suggests 6% of Covid cases that are being studied genetically are of the new type, which some scientists have said may be being discovered in this country because of its advanced laboratory facilities.

Prof Francois Balloux, director of University College London's Genetics Institute, told the BBC: "It is potentially a marginally more infectious strain.

"It's nothing compared with what we saw with Alpha and Delta, which were something like 50 to 60 percent more transmissible. So we are talking about something quite subtle here and that is currently under investigation.

"It is likely to be up to 10 percent more transmissible."

"It's good that we are aware. It's excellent that we have the facilities and infrastructure in place to see anything that might be a bit suspicious."

The government yesterday asked for calm over the spread of the mutation, and said that evidence does not conclusively appear to show yet that it spreads more quickly than the normal Delta variant.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "[AY.4.2] is something we're keeping a very close eye on.

"There's no evidence to suggest that this variant… is more easily spread.

"There's no evidence for that, but as you would expect, we're monitoring it closely and won't hesitate to take action if necessary."

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